HE IS WARM and magnanimous, and encourages us
to be kind to one another. She is an LGBT role
model and a longtime animal activist. Her Emmy
and People’s Choice Award-winning daytime talk
show, Ellen, is one of the most popular on television.
She is an author, actor, awards show host and poster of the
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dances! What can’t Ellen DeGeneres do?!
As an owner of Halo, Purely for Pets, a company she
discovered while looking for natural food for her highly allergic
dog, she has made a huge difference in the lives of companion
pets. She has donated millions of meals to homeless animals
and brings much-needed attention to shelter animals and pet
adoption. Here is just a small sampling of the things DeGeneres
and Halo do to make the world a better place.
In 2008, an 11-year-old girl from Bend, Oregon, named Mimi
Ausland, came to DeGeneres’ attention for the work she was
doing on her site, Freekibble.com. Centered on pet-related
trivia, visitors answered questions and for each answer, right
or wrong, Mimi donated 10 pieces of kibble to shelter pets.
Duly impressed with the youngster’s pluck and ingenuity,
DeGeneres invited her to be a guest on the Ellen show, then
donated $20,000 worth of Halo food to help Ausland in her
efforts. Since, Halo has become Freekibble.com’s o;;;i;; ;i;;;;
sponsor, enabling DeGeneres and Halo to donate more than 1.5
million meals a year to pets in need.
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adopting shelter pets, DeGeneres and Halo sponsored the
critically acclaimed Public Broadcasting Special, Shelter Me,
hosted by actress Katherine Heigl. The show’s goal was to break
down misconceptions about shelter pets and illustrate how
special they can be by telling the stories of incredible rescues
and shelter animals. Since then, Halo has sponsored two more
episodes with Jane Lynch and Edie Falco hosting.
The Academy Awards’ swag bags got the media buzzing
more than usual this year. Show host DeGeneres, in a stroke
of marketing genius, arranged for something out of the
ordinary. Tucked in amongst expensive trips, spa treatments
and jewelry, non-winning nominees were treated by Halo
and partner Freekibble.com to a 10,000-meal donation to the
shelter of their choice.
It is this kind of out-of-the-box, inspired thinking that led Petco
to honor DeGeneres with its inaugural HOPE Award in 2011,
given in recognition of a life dedicated to promoting the human-
animal bond. In response, DeGeneres stated, “I wish we lived in a
world where caring for animals wasn’t so rare that it deserved an
award. All I do is treat animals with the respect and dignity they
deserve. I hope someday soon, everyone does the same.”
You can expect to see DeGeneres, Halo and Freekibble.com
around the holidays. Through their annual Holiday Kibble Drop
program, they send semi-trucks carrying half a million meals
to cities around the country, making shelter pets’ holidays a
“We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more
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that.” And boy, does she ever. P H
by Jody Miller-Young
Dogs, cats, horses and cows may be some of
the much-loved pets who populate Ellen DeGeneres’
home. But what she does for homeless animals
makes their lives a whole lot better.